Meet Lydie Dass-Arcole: A Vatel graduate
Meeting with Lydie Dass-Arcole
A meeting with an enthusiast, Lydie Dass-Arcole, Vatel graduate, Château Latour-Martillac class of 2003.
Can you tell us something about yourself?
I was born in Pessac in 1980 and went to school in Bordeaux. When I passed my Baccalauréat exam, I had to decide what to do next. My father had heard about Vatel and suggested I might like to try it. I had an interview but was not really very interested because I didn’t know much about the hotel and restaurant sectors beyond the usual clichéd views of waiters and hotel receptionists. Once I’d left school, I went to England to improve my English and I got a job in a grillroom. That’s where I had my “epiphany” moment and decided to take a three-year course at Vatel. Alternating between lectures and work experience was ideal for me..
What have you been doing since you graduated from Vatel?
With the good experience I gained during placements, mainly on the practical side (room maid, kitchen work, restaurant service, waitress at functions, housekeeping etc.), I began work in Paris at the 5-star Hôtel Westminster on Rue de la Paix as a Guest Relation Manager. This initial experience brought me my love of the job and of luxury hotels.
I then found a job as an external sales rep. with the Forest Hill Hotel in La Villette. Although I learnt a lot from the experience, it was not really what I expected and I realised that my previous job had given me a taste for work in luxury hotels. I only stayed with the Forest Hill for a year because I’m one of those sales people who need to believe in and love their product in order to sell it.
When I left, I began working as Sales Manager for the Hôtel Ambassador on Boulevard Haussmann and I stayed there for six years. They then transferred me to a “Meet in Style” booking unit which I didn’t like at all. I resigned almost immediately.
My next job was with the “Crown Plaza République”. I worked there for a year as a member of the in-house sales team.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I decided to take three years off and become a full-time mother.
What are you doing now? What is your job? What does it entail?
I met my husband in Cannes while on work experience during my first year at Vatel. In 2013, we purchased Moissac Mill. It was a joint decision, and not one we took lightly.
I now work as its manager and Managing Director. I’m very busy with HR and admin. Side. I’m the “Go To” person, I suppose you could say. When we took over the mill, it had 16 staff; now there are 30, but only three from the original team.
Why did you decide to study at Vatel?
Fourteen years ago, Vatel was much less well-known than it is today and fewer people chose to study at private colleges. Originally, I wanted to be an interior designer but my father said it would be better to have a profession that put food on the table.
What had the biggest effect on you when you were studying?
I think it was the “hands-on” side of things that I enjoyed most. I believe it’s really important for students to get some professional experience.
Is there one story you would like to share with us?
Yes. I remember organising our gala evening. We’d chosen the sea as our main theme and had decorated the buffets with centrepieces that included real goldfish. The thing was, at the end of the evening, we didn’t know what to do with the nine fish. Nobody else wanted them so I ended up keeping them. All nine of them. I had the last one until 2006.